They’re not offering Valve-like levels of freedom, but Blizzard have just launched a basic modding framework for Overwatch. Workshop mode will allow players to dig into the game’s logic to create custom modes and even tweak and tune heroes. Sadly, it won’t be offering the option to create all new maps, models or audio, but players will at least be able to create custom servers running these new modes, free for anyone to join in on. Below, director Jeff Kaplan (now with a full coating of salt-and-pepper face fuzz) breaks down how it works, and who the Workshop is for.
While sadly limited to multi-player modes only (oh, what I wouldn’t give to spawn in waves of AI grunts and give them orders), Workshop mode looks accessible but powerful. In their official guide page, they show how just using a couple lines of code picked from drop-down menus gives them a new mode called ‘Molten Floor’, where you take flame damage every step you take on land. Handily, the Workshop also comes with an official debugger tool, allowing you to scrub through a game’s internal logic on a timeline, and see what things were activated, or failed to work.
While I’d love to see Overwatch add mapping and models later, the Workshop does look like a good introduction to mods for Overwatch players that already know the ropes. Basic rules changes seem very simple to make, while more complex scripting should, hopefully, be possible with time and effort. Custom modes made can be shared cross-platform, and the game browser now contains a Workshop tab, allowing you to jump into games made by other people. No matchmaking yet, but the next best thing. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Blizzard will be featuring the best player-made modes, similar to how Fortnite has The Block to feature user map segments.